How to nail your community's purpose?

Last week, we spoke about how communities can connect humans through a shared purpose, and why clearly defining the purpose of your community is fundamental to building a successful community. Thank you for the overwhelming response. We are just getting started and the coming editions are going to be even more valuable!

"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about." – Margaret J. Wheatley

In today’s edition, we’ll help you understand how to align your community “Why” (Purpose) with your “What” (Goals) that could be extremely valuable to you. We hope that this edition will help you validate your knowledge and bring real value to your company. Let’s start by taking a deeper dive into how you should go about defining the purpose of your community.

How to define the purpose of your community?

Your community’s purpose should ideally be a two-way street that takes into consideration the organization’s purpose, as well as the community’s needs. The purpose should come from a supportive, value-driven place and should connect with value creation and exchange.

To identify your community’s purpose, find answers to the following questions:

  • What does your business stand for?

  • What is it about your business that helps make the world a better place for people?

  • Why does what you do matter? In the short-term, the long-term, and in between.

  • What do your company’s employees feel passionate about?

  • What is your business’s “sweet spot”?

  • What would be the alternatives if your business ceased to exist tomorrow? Why is your business better than those options?

In dissecting these tough questions, you will understand how your business impacts the community that supports it. This will lead you to inevitably define the purpose of your community.

A company’s goals are much more tangible than the community’s purpose

A community's purpose is about building relationships, but that can be viewed as too subjective, so it's important to define concrete goals. If you are a community manager you need to know what you are running towards so that you can focus your energy on the things that can get you closer to the goals.

Think of a brand like Apple, which inspires us to “Think Different”. This community that Apple has cultivated serves a huge business purpose of helping to generate buzz, hype, and enthusiasm for new Apple products, a strategy that has proven tremendously successful for the company. And, with that support/purpose, the company can continue to create and innovate, creating a lasting relationship cycle, and bringing the best user experience - which is the goal.

These goals may be sales goals, community engagement goals, sentiment goals, or something else entirely. Now, let’s see how you can align your purpose with the goals or vice-versa.

To clearly define your goals, you need to refer to the questions above and then refine that information by finding answers to these questions:

  • What does the community’s success mean for your organization? Is it customer acquisition? Is it an increased frequency of sales to current customers? Awareness of a cause? Brand name recognition? A loyal brand following?

  • How can your community contribute to accomplishing your business objectives? Your goal here is to determine how having a deeper, more engaged relationship with your current or prospective customers can drive value. Then ask, what does having a more engaged community mean to your organization? Why does it matter?

Glynk’s tip 💡

People make a lot of assumptions about their communities. Even when you work intelligently to find out about them, there are pitfalls. The most important step in building a strategy is looking past yourself and being aware of your own biases (as well as those of your team) to get a clear picture of who is in your community, who could be in your community, and who your company wants in your community. If these three groups are in sync, then you have achieved alignment.

Customer: At the heart of the strategy

When you think about your community, think about your members, always. You need to constantly think about what is best for them. This means staying alert, keeping your ears wide open, and constantly listening to your community. You will know what they need right now. To create a true community and be relevant, you need to stand out and stand for something that your members connect with. While the fundamental purpose of your community remains the same, things you stand for have to be constantly communicated to your members. Once you do that, getting your members to engage and participate will be easy.

That’s all for this week. Tell us if you liked this week’s edition of The Community Assemble. Also, Say hi to us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram! We love to chat :)

See you next week! Till then, let’s love and support our community. ✨